A Month In The Life of Ephtim D.
by Asen Balikci
color, 56 min, 2003
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This documentary takes a rare and intimate look at the life of a 73-year-old pensioner currently living in Bulgaria following the collapse of the former Soviet Union. We follow Ephtim D. from the meager dinner table where he and his wife dine on some bread with a little margarine and garlic, to the park where he walks his dog and meets his friends.
Ephtim is a life-long Communist. He and his friends still attend Socialist party meetings in Sofia. It is difficult for a Westerner to understand why people in Eastern Europe would not embrace their freedom but still reminisce about the "good old days" under communism. When we see how difficult life is today for Ephtim and his wife we believe their memories of a better situation in earlier years.
With painstaking precision Ephtim and his wife must account for literally every penny in order to survive. We know exactly how they spend their $66 monthly government pension which barely keeps them alive. Were it not for the fact that they own their tiny apartment their circumstances would be dire.
The filmmaker, Asen Balikci has been an innovator in the field of ethnographic film and film in education for many years. He was responsible for the production of the Netsilik Eskimo Film Series made to accompany the Man: A Course of Study curriculum in the 1960s. When he retired from his academic post at a Canadian university he moved back to his home country of Bulgaria to apply his media skills to facilitate communication and education both inside and outside the country.
A Month in the Life of Ephtim D. is an excellent, realistic portrayal which provides a wealth of information for those studying Economics, the influence of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund on Eastern Europe, Bulgaria, International Politics, Government, Aging and Ethnography.